In late 1992, whispers reached the ears of North American JRPG fans, telling of the release in Japan of the latest installment of the popular Final Fantasy series of video games. Yet, in a surprise disappointment driven by Nintendo’s rampant greed and fear of competition, Final Fantasy fans were to be denied the chance to play SquareSoft’s follow up to the highly successful release of Final Fantasy IV. For nearly a decade, English-speaking American People would have to wait, biding their time.
Then, in September of 1999, as part of the Final Fantasy Anthology collection, the draft version of Final Fantasy V was at last released in North America, where it was met with a mixture of acclaim and bemusement. The script, quite excellent by the standards of 1992, seemed simplistic after the release of more complex PlayStation titles. Moreover, a lack of polish in areas beyond the core script–item, monster, and ability names, for example–was a source of exasperation. Confronted by “Karl Boss” and “Y Burns”, many gamers found the draft effort unprofessionally laughable. Yet, even the draft translation (performed by Ted Woolsey) was, by the standards of the day, of a reasonably high quality, and in some ways better than many titles of the later PlayStation and PlayStation 2 eras.
Charting a planet-spanning conflict, Final Fantasy V is the story of an ancient struggle, a fearful evil, and the two generations of warriors who strove against it. As the story opens, the wanderer Bartz and his loyal chocobo, Boco, find their camping interrupted by the arrival of a meteor. Hurrying to the scene, Bartz finds an amnesiac man and a young girl beset by monsters. Unwilling to abandon them to their fate, the courageous Bartz intervenes, for fate has ordained that their destinies lie intertwined. Together, Bartz, Reina, Galuf, and (soon thereafter) Faris will travel across vast distances in an effort to save their world from the dangerous foe who lies sealed within it. But, as they travel, they will also learn about themselves and their own connexion with the threat to their world.
Use the comment thread below to discuss your approach to the game, challenges you have faced, tactics you are employing, and what you are getting out of your playthrough. Do you feel that the presentation of Final Fantasy V has held up since its original release in 1992? Are there aspects of the game that you would change, or that you would hold up as an example for modern game developers to emulate? How has your experience with other RPGs released after Final Fantasy V changed your impressions of the game? Tell us all about it and join in our discussion below!
The aim in this playthrough is to complete the entirety of the game in three weeks. For the final week, the goal is to finish the third world of the game and the X-Zone. Feel free to join in, even if you are behind on the playthrough. Anyone and everyone is invited to participate, regardless of speed of play or familiarity with the series. Tell your friends!
Without further adieu, it is our very great pleasure to invite you now to join the The Starlight Megaphone staff members, guests, and readers as we embark on a journey to save the crystals in Dear Friends: A Final Fantasy V Playthrough!